Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Midnight Marathon

 After much agony and anticipation, this past Marathon Monday, I made it to my first Midnight Ramen.  Since January of this year, a team of talented and innovative chefs, headed by Mark O'Leary and Yukihiro Kawaguchi of O Ya, have gotten together about once a month to serve up 60 bowls of hand made ramen.  The real intrigue? The location is always changing and the ramen is not served until late into the night. 
The whole concept is exciting and has generated an uproar in Boston's food scene. Tickets are exceptionally difficult to come by, selling out a mere two minutes after they are released.  
So you can imagine my excitement in snagging a seat at the most recent Ramen event, this one being held right in my neighborhood, at The Gallows.

 A midnight ramen feast is not exactly how one might begin the week, but I could not pass up this opportunity! So I spent most of my Marathon Monday preparing for a marathon of my own: how to stay up until midnight...
In actuality, it ended up being a non-issue, a combination of my cat nap at 7 and our seating time at 11 p.m. made for a fairly do-able circumstance. 
The Gallows, a spot that is always brimming with people and vibe was full of ramen enthusiasts feasting on bowls of steaming ramen and hand fashioned pork belly buns.  I arrived the first of my fellow ramen companions and had a moment to take it all in.  Being in a restaurant at such a late hour on a Monday, when the rest of the city is deserted, is something different in and of itself.  
As if in accord with this theme, the restaurant was entirely lit by candlelight, providing for an atmosphere of being 'in the know' that hovered over the tables.

 The menu is simple and starts with a hand made, steamed, pork belly bun.  The bun itself was very interesting and you could taste the care that went into each one.  I have had better pork belly though, notably, the pork belly buns presented at   Uni's Late Night Ramen.
 For the ramen, you have two choices, a traditional salt-based broth or soy-based..both are obviously nice and high in sodium:)
I went for the traditional salt base and am very glad I did.  The broth was fantastic, not too salty, but enough to make you crave more with every slurp.  However it was definitely the noodles that took the cake.  Again, the handy craft that goes into these is exquisite, it makes for slightly thin but dense noodles, perfectly cooked.  As per usual, a soft-boiled egg adds complexity and texture.
I really enjoyed this bowl of ramen, it was nothing fancy, but honest and true, just like something you would find anywhere on the streets of Japan.
For dessert, two simple macaroons are served to settle the sweet side of things. 
Guchi's Midnight Ramen is an exciting step out of your ordinary food routine. It is a great concept, mixing tasty, fresh and hand-tailored food with intrigue and excitement.  Still in its early stages, I think this pop-up has a lot to offer and will continue to grow and offer late night appetites a satisfying end.

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